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March 01, 2011


Cha-ching. Nice. I agree, even if you were screwed, it was fun. Ha ha. Really though, the stuff was just gathering dust in your garage. Nice to clear out the clutter.

Your instincts were correct. That is not a good way to sell silver. Usually you get short changed, sometimes not, but sometimes by a lot.

Better to go to a reputable coin or metals dealer knowing at least three things:

1. It is sterling silver
2. Its weight in ounces
3. current spot market value per ounce
4. approximate total value using the method below.

Sterling silver is 92.5% silver. The rest is usually copper or some other alloying agent to give it durability.

Currently silver has been trading in the $34 range per ounce.

5 lbs (80 oz) of sterling is worth about: 80 oz x $34 = $2,720 minus 7.5% = $2,516

The $725 you got would be about right for 22-23 oz of sterling silver.

How well did you do?

Oh well.

What! Trading solid silver for fiat money? Proof positive that you're no right winger, Brian.

Brian and Clark,

Did you receive a weight determination on your sterling silver items? I was thinking of selling my mother's SS tableware.

Would I get the wt.(oz) x .925 x ___ x $34? = $_____? I wonder what per cent the Silver buyer takes out?

Thanks for any info,

Roger, I'm not sure. You can Google "selling silver tableware" (or flatware) and find quite a bit of advice on this subject. I suppose it depends on part on whether someone is buying the silver set for itself (tableware) or for the silver content.

When I went to the pawn shop, a guy there told me that the silver would end up getting melted down. In that case, the middlemen are going to take a cut of the action, as will the end buyer, naturally. Plus there's the cost of extracting the silver to consider.

Get several bids from reputable rare metals dealers; that'd be the way to go. What you have probably is worth quite a bit, if it is sterling silver.

To whom it may concern,

Here is what you are likely to get from an honest dealer for sterling silver.

For example, you have 5 lbs (80 oz) of sterling silver cups and flatware which contains 92.5% pure silver.

80 oz. x .925 = 74 oz. That's how much silver you actually have.

As of today the spot market price is about $35.50 per ounce.

74 oz. x $35.50 = $2,627

Most coin dealers will give you 75-80% of that.

So, you should easily get $1,970.25 for 5 lbs of sterling silver.

Much less than that, you are being screwed.

[Roger had a problem with leaving a comment, so he emailed it to me and I'm posting it for him -- Blogger Brian]

Thanks Clark

I have my mother's 'Old Master' sterling silverware. I first need to determine the total weight(oz). Then, follow your suggested information.


Do you need the cash now from your mother's silverware?

If not, I suggest waiting to sell your silver. While there may be ups and downs along the way, I don't think we are near the top of this bull market in the metals.

The U.S. dollar is under assault by our own government. We have overspent and now the GNP (the total amount of money the U.S. economy produces) will not even cover the interest we must pay the Chinese and others who own our paper (treasuries, bonds, etc.) The only possible course of action is to default and cause a deflationary implosion (depression) or to print fiat money, which the Fed (Bernanke) is currently doing as it is the only viable option for an administration that wants to remain in office.

Unfortunately, this course of action devalues the dollar and is inflationary. Eventually it will become hyper-inflationary because the debt is now too high and we can't keep pace with the interest. There isn't enough economic activity to generate the real income the government needs to pay all this off. So the printing presses roll. Essentially, the Fed is a counterfeiter and the world has caught on. They know we can't keep this up for much longer. We are paying off credit with credit like a bad consumer. We are in trouble, really no different than the PIGS (Portugal, Ireland, Greece, Spain) who have done this and are now insolvent.

So, as the dollar loses its value, tangibles will tend to hold their value or go up in value relative to the dollar. Hence, it makes sense to hold on to silver. Avoid cash. Have only enough to pay your living expenses. Liquidate equities and hard assets as necessary to pay your bills. The rest of your assets should be elsewhere. Dollars are bad to own which should be obvious to anyone who has a savings account. The interest you are getting is much less than the rate of inflation. If you are saving money in a bank, you aren't saving, you are losing money.

Thanks Brian and Clark,

This week, I plan to have the sterling silverware weighed only. I can then use Clark's formula to investigate possible cash values. I don't need to rush into a sale. Thanks for the information.

Brian and Clark,

My mother's silverware weighed in at 1424grams, plus the 8 dinner knives equal to 4 ounces. Was offered $24.74/ounce.
I wonder if there is a better deal?

Today, spot silver was at $37.60 per ounce last I checked. The dealer should give you about 75% of the current spot price per ounce for that quantity of silver. If you had a larger amount of sterling you might get 80%. They sell it to somebody who then has to melt the sterling to separate the pure silver from the alloying metal which is usually copper. The spot price changes from minute to minute when the markets are open.


Yes, I will hold out for a better deal. I did find out, the blade on butter knife is sterling silver. Where does the 'melter' company sell the recovered silver to? I'm guessing the melter company gets the $37.60?

And, could I sell my silverware directly to the melting company? Maybe, maybe not.

Thanks for your continued messages.

There are companies like "Replacements" that I believe buy sterling flatware sets which have been discontinued, so people who still own the sets can replace lost or damaged pieces. Check the web. In addition you could have gone on ebay to check out comparable items and see what they were selling for. Sterling anything costs a fortune now and if I were you I probably would not have sold it. There was no sentimental value to you at all? Maybe you should have saved some of grandmas silver for your kids.


Last week, I finally sold my mother's 'old master' sterling silverware. At $34.0 per troy ounce, I received $1,150.00.

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